The foundation of Kazakhstan Democracy is the constitution, and is a notable accomplishment in the transition to democracy in Kazakhstan after a long period of being in the Soviet Union. According to Kazakhstan’s constitution, Kazakhstan's democracy is secular and values individual “life, rights, and freedoms.” Kazakhstan’s Constitution also establishes key democratic principles of the separation of powers, equality and the institution of elections.
Kazakhstan's demographics are dynamic. Of about 18 million people living in Kazakhstan, only 66% are ethnic Kazakh. Ethnic Russians, Uzbeks, Ukrainians, Uighurs and Tatars are among the more than 140 ethnic groups who call Kazakhtan home.
During over 20 years Kazakhstan’s civil society and authorities have been steadily building the values of democracy in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan improved its positioning in international ratings. For example, in the latest 2015 Corruption Perception Index prepared by Transparency International Kazakhstan climbed three places compared to the previous year.
Since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Kazakhstan's democracy has consistently become more stable. The transition to democracy in Kazakhstan resulted in the establishment of a Secular Constitution in 1995. Constitution, modeled after Western models of the separation of powers, outlines the responsibilities of the executive, legislative and judicial branches. The executive power is under the President, the Government and the Ministries. The Senate and the Mazhilis control legislative powers. Lastly, the Constitutional Council and the Supreme Court control judicial power.
In 1995, the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan was created to represent the country's ethnic communities and larger electorate to safeguard their role and voice in Kazakhstan's democracy. The APK remains a fundamental civil society institution without any precedents in former Soviet states.
The first presidential elections in Kazakhstan were held in January 1999 with the election of former Secretary of the Communist Party of the Kazakh (SSR) Nursultan Nazarbayev, who was subsequently re-elected in 2006 for an additional seven-year term. Nazarbayev was reelected in January 2011 to serve for five-years, pursuant to a 2007 constitutional amendment that shortened the Presidential term by two years. This new amendment also reinforced the Parliament`s authority. In early 2009, a law was adopted on political groups that ensures the presence of at least two parties in Parliament. In January 2012, parliamentary elections were held using a closed, party-list system. President Nazarbayev’s party Nur Otan garnered 80.99% of the vote, followed by the Ak Jol party (7.47%) and the Communist People's Party of Kazakhstan (KNPK) (7.19%). The four opposition parties all received less than the required 7% minimum to qualify for representation in Parliament.